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Coroner continues testimony in Schneider trial

WICHITA — The lawyer for Stephen Schneider focused cross-examination on possible natural causes of deaths of Schneider's patients, rather than drug overdoses.

Lawrence Williamson spent this morning going through individual autopsies, pointing to other symptoms that showed up in patients who a coroner said died of overdoses of prescription drugs.

Jaime Oeberst, chief medical examiner for Sedgwick County, acknowledged some of the patients had evidence of heart disease in her autopsies.

But Oeberst stressed that although the patients had those conditions, they died from ingesting large amounts of drugs.

Oeberst began her second day on the witness stand this morning in the federal trial of Stephen and Linda Schneider.

Stephen Schneider was a doctor, his wife a licensed practice nurse, and together they ran a medical clinic in Haysville from 2002 to 2008. They are charged in a 34-count indictment with illegally prescribing painkillers.

Prosecutors say the Schneiders' prescription practices led to the deaths of dozens of patients.

Williamson asked Oeberst if one patient decided to take more painkillers than directed, it wouldn't have mattered who prescribed them.

Oeberst agreed.

The defense contends that patients hold responsibility for their misuse of the prescriptions.

The prosecution says the doctor provided so many drugs, it made it easier for the patients to abuse them.

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